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Articles | Featured | Future

LIVE REVIEWS

Brussels Jazz Festival 2019

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Brussels Jazz Festival Flagey Brussels, Belgium January 10-19, 2019 The Brussels Jazz Festival is a relative newcomer, but this ambitious 10-dayer managed to sell out around two thirds of its gigs, and was overall the most successful in attendance for this fifth edition. Concerts are held in the two main studios of Flagey, a 1930s Art Deco radio broadcasting complex in the Ixelles area, just south of the city centre. It was ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Blue Note's Tone Poet Series

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With CD-quality streaming a reality for those with butch internet and money to burn, and vanilla streaming the reality for almost everyone else, digital music has never seemed less collectable. Why clutter your Marie Kondo-approved home with jewel boxes when much (though heaven knows not all) of the digital catalogue is available on tap? While compact disc sales crater, however, vinyl rises phoenix-like (a poetic image--please do not expose your records to excessive heat). If you're going to buy a ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Joachim Kuhn: Melodic Ornette Coleman: Piano Works XIII

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Reportedly, Ornette Coleman did not have a great affinity for pianists, but it was the instrument--rather than the musicians--that put Coleman off. As an innovator in free jazz, Coleman found the chordal instrument too intrusive and preferred a more sympathetic bass/soloist interaction. Coleman did record with pianists Geri Allen and Paul Bley, but he established a regular touring schedule of duo performances with Joachim Kühn. Coleman and Kühn only recorded together on Colors: Live from Leipzig (Verve, 1997). That outing ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Lucian Ban and Alex Simu: Free Fall

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Romanian musicians Lucian Ban and Alex Simu may not have met in their native country but, after a serendipitous meeting in Amsterdam, the two endeavored to play a series of shows there. The product of that tour, titled Free Fall, is an unexpectedly nuanced album. Though a compelling release by its own merits, Free Fall is a live recording inspired by and dedicated to trailblazing jazz clarinetist Jimmy Guiffre. It took place on February 7th at the French ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Zlatko Kaućić: Diversity

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This 5-CD box Diversity was produced to honor Slovenian percussionist Zlatko Kaučič's 40 years in music. It is many things, but what it is not, is a career retrospective. How could it be? For quite awhile the drummer was a nomad, moving to Barcelona in 1976, then Amsterdam where he absorbed the new Dutch swing. His career has touched a who's who of musicians from Irene Schweitzer, to Misha Mengelberg, Peter Brötzmann, Paul Bley, and Steve Lacy, to name but ...

RADIO

Nat@100, Withers ‘Just Because’, Newk & More

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We get a jump on the Nat 'King' Cole centennial [coming in March] with his classic trio, along with two piano players influenced by Mr. Cole. Our Sonny Rollins celebration continues with a Miles date with Bird on tenor too. Upfront, there's 21st century sounds, as well as jazzed-up Bill Withers tunes... just because, well, it's a lovely day. Make yours one and give a listen; you will enjoy the show. Playlist Harold Mabern “A Few Miles ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Elsa Nilsson & Jon Cowherd: After Us

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The music of Swedish/American flutist and composer Elsa Nilsson is widely influenced, interconnecting and transcending cultural boundaries from Sweden, to northern Europe, through the heart of American jazz, and stretching south to the sounds of Rio de Janeiro. She willfully takes the leap from one musical outpost to another without compromise, along the way finding interesting and original space to be uniquely herself. This leads to some unconventional aspects of her approach and where the music ultimately travels. She dares ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Wayne Shorter: Etcetera

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The mid-sixties was an incredibly busy time for Wayne Shorter, who in 1965 had transitioned out of being Art Blakey's musical director into serving more or less the same roll for Miles Davis. By that point, he already had three Vee-Jay and two Blue Note leader dates under his belt and, in '65, he went on to record three more headliners on Blue Note--The Soothsayer, Etcetera and The All-Seeing Eye. Only the somewhat avant-garde Eye was released at ...

MIND YOUR BUSINESS

Pt. 5, Digital Drink Coasters?

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In the previous installment of this column, I discussed the undertaking of making a record on your own. In particular, how to fund it and how best to spend those funds. Now it's time to talk about what happens once those boxes of CDs have arrived and are cluttering up your basement... Now what? How do you sell these things or will they just become expensive digital drink coasters?Well this is the eternal question and there's no simple ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Chuck Redd: Groove City

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How do you get into the zone, where do your thoughts travel, and what realm do you occupy when playing and recording? The answer to that multi-pronged question, while no doubt slightly different for every musician, can be boiled down fairly easily. To paraphrase Chuck Redd's thoughts on the matter, you just appreciate the moment and travel right down to Groove City. The sixth album from this veteran vibraphonist finds him practicing exactly what he preaches, zeroing ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jay Thomas with the Oliver Groenewald NewNet: I Always Knew

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There aren't many jazz musicians who play both brass and woodwinds, fewer still who play them as well as the veteran Seattle-based virtuoso Jay Thomas (the word “virtuoso" is used with due care). On I Always Knew, recorded in January 2018 with German-born trumpeter / arranger Oliver Groenewald's NewNet, Thomas traverses the ballad form on a dozen mostly undervalued and too-seldom heard numbers, all but one arranged by Groenewald who also wrote “I Always Knew" and “Mrs. Goodnight." Thomas has ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Julian Lage: Love Hurts

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Julian Lage is a tremendously talented acoustic guitarist and by all accounts a polite, mild mannered kind of guy. Though this might not be the whole story. The cover picture of his album is of twenty used matches, which is thought to refer to his worries of becoming burnt-out after being hailed as a child prodigy then burdened with the lofty expectations of his admirers. Lage was an accomplished blues guitarist when featured in the Oscar-nominated film ...